Discover Your 2021 Reading Goals

Like many other librarians and avid readers, I have set a reading goal for myself each January for at least the past decade. The book number tends to steadily increase, though I’ve stuck to 50 books for the last couple years. 50 books seemed daunting when I first set that goal, but after realizing I should count everything I read (not just novels) it was definitely an attainable goal. Between the single issue comics I regularly pick up and the plethora of cookbooks I seem to always have checked out, I’m able to get to my goal without too much trouble. This year I’m planning to revisit some old favorites for second or third readings (looking at your American Gods) in addition to a good variety of newly published titled and new to me titles.

If you are someone who hasn’t set a reading goal before, or perhaps you’ve struggled with not completing your goal, I’m here to encourage you to give it another try! Most importantly to remind you- if you are setting this reading goal for fun, because you enjoy reading, then make sure you have FUN! I have plenty of friends who seem to beat themselves up for not reading more, but your reading habits aren’t for any awards or competition. Read what you like, as often as you like. If that means 5 books a year, then that is fabulous!

I often hear people putting pressure on themselves to read “important” books. Just the other day my husband semi-jokingly said “2021 will be the year I read Crime and Punishment!” as he grabbed the Dostoevsky classic off our home bookshelf. Is he actually going to read this book? Probably not. Is it a book that he might feel he is supposed to read because #literature? Yes. But who really cares about all that? If all you want to read in 2021 is romantic comedies, cozy mysteries, or heartwarming dog stories, then you do you.

This year, as I ease back into my routine after some relaxing time sequestering myself away during the holidays, I’m looking at what I am most excited to read in the coming months. Below you will find some of the soon-to-be published titles I cannot wait to read in 2021!

The Removed by Brandon Hobson

A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman

Klara and the Sun by Kazuo Ishiguro

Peaces by Helen Oyeyemi

Getaway by Zoje Stage (no cover art available)

The Final Girl Support Group by Grady Hendrix

Star Eater by Kerstin Hall

Poison Flowers and Pandemonium by Richard Sala

If you are a horror fan like me I highly recommend checking out this awesome post from Emily Hughes on the Tor Nightfire blog- you can see all the horror books being published in 2021 in a handy dandy month by month list! *heart-eyes emoji*

2020 was obviously a difficult year, and even though there is a light at the end of the tunnel for 2021, we aren’t out of the woods yet so be kind to yourself and read what brings you joy and happiness. What are you most excited to read this year? Share in the comments below!

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

Here some of the new exciting releases for you to take a look at this week!

Hush-Hush by Stuart Woods – New York City cop turned Manhattan law firm rainmaker, Stone Barrington, lands in hot water in a highly anticipated latest installment in the best-selling series by the Edgar Award-winning author of Chiefs .

Wrong Alibi by Christina Dodd – Sentenced to life in prison for a murder she did not commit, 18-year-old Evelyn escapes and works under an alias at a wilderness camp, where her chance at revenge is complicated by a former employer’s mysterious connections.

The Mystery of Mrs. Christie by Marie Benedict – Claiming amnesia after going missing for more than a week in late 1926, up-and-coming mystery author Agatha Christie pens a chilling story that brashly implicates her war-hero husband. By the author of The Other Einstein.

Under the Alaskan Ice by Karen Harper – A sequel to Deep in the Alaskan Woods finds a young widow assisting a pilot in the wake of a bush plane crash, before an unknown adversary begins sabotaging the pilot’s investigation in the Alaskan wilderness.

The Wrong Family by Tarryn Fisher – An off-kilter narrator witnesses the slow unraveling of a couple’s strained marriage that erupts in unexpected ways, in a chilling tale of domestic suspense by the best-selling author of The Wives 

Pretty Little Wife by Darby Kane – Darby Kane thrills with this twisty domestic suspense novel that asks one central question: shouldn’t a dead husband stay dead?

The Case for Keto: Rethinking Weight Control and the Science and Practice of Low-carb/High-Fat Eating by Gary Taubes – The best-selling author of Why We Get Fat and The Case Against Sugar reveals why the established rules about eating healthy might be the wrong approach to weight loss for millions of people, and how low-carbohydrate, high-fat/ketogenic diets can help so many of us achieve and maintain a healthy weight for life.

The Dark Archive by Genevieve Cogman – A professional spy for a mysterious Library which harvests fiction from different realities, Irene faces a series of assassination attempts that threaten to destroy her and everything she has worked for.

Watch Her by Edwin Hill – Investigating a suspicious burglary and the disappearances of Prescott University alumni, Harvard librarian Hester Thursby and Detective Angela White uncover financial transgressions, rumors of infidelity and a decades-old tragedy. By the author of Little Comfort.

Olive Bright, Pigeoneer by Stephanie Graves – Tending her veterinarian father’s Hertfordshire racing pigeons while waiting for her best friend to return from World War II, Olive is recruited into the Baker Street covert branch of British Intelligence before investigating the murder of a local busybody.

~Semanur~

Shannon’s Top Ten of 2020

It’s been a hell of a year, and I don’t blame any of you for not reading as much as you wanted to – we’re all just trying to survive 2020 at this point! One of my pandemic activities has been to read lots of books, so it was a little difficult to pick my Top Ten, but I think I got a pretty good list. It has a lot of science fiction and fantasy (which I’m sure no one is surprised by) but also a thriller, a graphic novel, historical fiction, and horror.

Click any of the book covers below to be taken to our catalog, where you can request a copy of the book with your library card number and PIN.

Ninth House catalog link

10. Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo

Survivor Song catalog link

9. Survivor Song by Paul Tremblay

The City We Became catalog link

8. The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin


The Bone Ships catalog link

7. The Bone Ships by R. J. Barker

Mexican Gothic catalog link

6. Mexican Gothic by Silva Moreno-Garcia

Fangs catalog link

5. Fangs by Sarah Andersen


When No One is Watching catalog link

4. When No One is Watching by Alyssa Cole

3. The Devil and the Dark Water by Stuart Turton

The Starless Sea catalog link

2. The Starless Sea by Erin Morgenstern


And last but certainly not least, my number one book of 2020 is… drumroll please….

Gideon the Ninth catalog link

1. Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Hands down, Gideon the Ninth is the best book I read this year (even though technically it’s from 2019) – if you love science fiction, you’ve got to read this book!

Stay on the lookout this week for Top Ten posts from other staff members!

New Books Tuesday @RRPL

This week we have a collection of autobiography, horror, historical fiction, and much more for you to choose from. You can also find topics such as health & fitness, sports, and social science… Enjoy!

NYPD Red 6 by James Patterson & Marshall Karp – Available for the first time in print, a sixth entry in the series co-written by the award-winning author of Jackie Ha-Ha continues the story of top NYPD Red Detective Zach Jordan and his partner, Detective Kylie MacDonald.

The Garden of Promises and Lies by Paula Brackston – This third installment in the Found Things series finds Xanthe taking responsibility for inadvertently transporting the dangerous Benedict Fairfax to her own time, while learning to use her skills as a spinner to keep her and Flora safe.

Future of Nutrition, The: An Insider’s Look at the Science, Why We Keep Getting It Wrong, and How to Start Getting It Right by T. Colin Campbell with Nelson Disla – A follow-up to the best-selling Whole presents a critique of the nutrition institution that identifies the systematic ways that even well-intentioned companies perpetuate misinformation, overlook key nutritional deficiencies and promote unhealthy levels of animal protein dependence.

I Came As a Shadow: An Autobiography by John Thompson – Provides the long-awaited autobiography from Georgetown University’s legendary coach, whose life on and off the basketball court throws America’s unresolved struggle with racial justice into sharp relief. 125,000 first printing. Illustrations.

Proquest Statistical Abstract of the United States 2021: The National Data Book by Proquest/ Bernan Press – The Statistical Abstract of the United States is the best known statistical reference. As a comprehensive collection of statistics on the social, political, and economic conditions of the country, it is a snapshot of America and its people. It includes over 1,400 tables from hundreds of sources.

Kings of Crypto:  One Startup’s Quest to Take Cryptocurrency Out of Silicon Valley and Onto Wall Street by Jeff John Roberts – The author covers subjects such as cryptocurrency, patent reform, blockchain technology, hacking, and privacy in the age of social media for Fortune. His work has also appeared in a variety of other outlets, including Bloomberg BusinessWeek, Reuters, Fortune, and the New York Times.

Benedict XVI a Life: Youth in Nazi Germany to the Second Vatican Council 1927-1965 by Peter Seewald – The long-awaited and authoritative biography of Pope Benedict XVI. This necessary companion to Benedict’s own memoir, Last Testament, is the fullest account to date of the life of a radical Catholic leader who has continued to make news while cloistered in retirement in the Vatican gardens.

Sylvia Pankhurst: Natural Born Rebel by Rachel Holmes – On the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment, the definitive biography of suffragette Sylvia Pankhurst-human rights champion, and radical feminist ahead of her time. In this enthralling biography, acclaimed author Rachel Holmes interweaves Pankhurst’s rebellious political and private lives to show how her astonishing achievements continue to resonate today.

The Berlin Shadow by Jonathan Lichtenstein – A deeply moving memoir that confronts the defining trauma of the twentieth century… Written with tenderness and grace, The Berlin Shadow is a highly compelling story about time, trauma, family, and a father and son’s attempt to emerge from the shadows of history.

Remina by Junji Ito – Another of Junji Ito’s classics, the sci-fi masterwork Remina tells the chilling tale of a hell star, unfolding on a universal scale.

~Semanur~

Sara’s Top 10 of 2020

Time for another Top 10 already! Looking back, it seems like I mostly read mystery and thrillers this year. Hope you enjoy some of the ones on my list!

Ghosts of Harvard by Francesca Serritella

I haven’t quite finished this one yet, but I can tell it will be a favorite. A young girl attends Harvard, hoping to get closure about the death of her brother who committed suicide there last year.

Redemption Point by Candace Fox

The second book in the Crimson Lake series which follows the paths of two outcasts and alleged criminals who pursue redemption by helping others solve crimes.

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi

Another second book in a series which rivals the first one. Magic returns to the land of Orisha after being brutally banned for decades, but is it really a victory when you take your country to the edge of civil war?

Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon

Deep down, how well can any father really know how his teenage son feels, what he’s up to, and how far he will go if pushed?

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James

Ghosts, mystery, romance, missing persons- what more could you want in a book?

A Good Marriage by Kimberly McCreight

I really enjoyed this story about a young lawyer in a lonely marriage who agrees to help a friend get out of prison, only to find his case affects her more than she could ever imagine.

The Guest List by Lucy Foley

A deadly wedding ceremony on an isolated island in the middle of a terrible storm. What could possibly happen?

All the Devils Are Here by Louise Penny

One of my favorite Gamache books so far with lovely twist- the whole thing is set in Paris.

The Searcher by Tana French

Another great mystery that makes you want to go to Ireland immediately and see the lush countryside and the meet all the quirky people who live in the village.

Invisible Girl by Lisa Jewell

I just finished this one- it was a page turner full of twists and turns, marriages, families, good-and of course, evil.

New Books Tuesday @ RRPL

In this week’s special picks there are new exciting romance, mystery, suspense, and many more genres for you to choose from! Enjoy!

D: A Tale of Two Worlds by Michel Faber – Baffled by the sudden disappearance of the letter D, a young woman is summoned to the home of a former history teacher before arriving in an enslaved, wintry land where free thinking is under threat.

The Last Days of John Lennon by James Patterson – Published to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Lennon’s assassination and based on insider interviews, a chronicle of the iconic music artist’s final days includes coverage of his last album and the life of Mark David Chapman.

Layla by Colleen Hoover – From #1 New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover comes a novel that explores life after tragedy and the enduring spirit of love in this engaging contemporary romance with a supernatural twist. It is part psychological thriller and part paranormal romance.

Cold Wind by Paige Shelton – A sequel to Thin Ice finds Beth investigating the discovery of a trapper’s secluded home in the woods near Benedict, Alaska, where a murder victim is linked to the owner of the local mercantile.

The How Not to Diet Cookbook by Michael Greger, M.D., FACLM –  The author of the New York Times bestseller How Not to Die, comes a four-color, fully illustrated cookbook that shares the science of long-term weight-loss success. This book is primed to be a revolutionary new addition to the cookbook industry: incredibly effective and designed for everyone looking to make changes to their dietary habits to improve their quality of life, weight loss notwithstanding.

Unsinkable: Five Men and the Indomitable Run of the U.S.S. Plunkett by James Sullivan – Documents the true story of a U.S. Navy destroyer that inspired the writings of John Ford and Herman Wouk, drawing on the journals and other writings of five shipmates who witnessed the Anzio attacks and D-Day invasion.

Red Hands by Christopher Golden – Ben Walker, an expert in weird phenomena is asked by the Global Science Research Coalition to locate a woman who has been the victim of a devastating bioweapon that causes every person she touches to drop dead.

The Daydream Cabin by Carolyn Brown – A headstrong woman discovers it’s never too late for change in New York Times bestselling author Carolyn Brown’s spirited novel about lost hope and second chances. Working as a summer counselor at an amenities-limited camp for at-risk teens, a public-school teacher employs a tough-love approach to intervene on behalf of three troubled girls while bonding with a hardened boot-camp drill instructor.

Girl Gurl Grrrl: On Womanhood and Belonging in the Age of Black Girl Magic by Kenya Hunt – The award-winning Grazia UK fashion director presents an evocative anthology of essays celebrating the timeless, thriving potential of being a Black woman, mother and global citizen in today’s dynamic world.

Blowing My Way to the Top: How to Break the Rules, Find Your Purpose, and Create the Life and Career You Deserve by Jen Atkin – The celebrity stylist and social media influencer discusses the challenges faced by today’s women entrepreneurs and the foundational values that shaped her rise from a conservative, isolated teen to the head of a multi-million-dollar empire.

Snowdrift by Helene Tursten – Swedish Detective Inspector Embla Nyström puts her life on the line when a new lead breaks in the unsolved disappearance of her best friend, a cold case that is further complicated by the murder of a notorious gang member.

The Mermaid from Jeju by Sumi Hahn – A talented young deep-sea diver from occupied 1948 Korea’s neighboring Jeju Island visits Mt. Halla for her family’s annual trading trip before her romance with a mountain youth is upended by family tragedy and political turbulence.

Take It Back by Kia Abdullah – Leaving her high-profile law position for a job at a crisis center, Zara Kaleel becomes involved in the case of a deformed teenage girl who accuses four boys in her class of rape, tearing the community apart.

The System by Ryan Gattis – On December 6, 1993, a drug dealer called Scrappy is shot and left for dead on the lawn outside her mother’s house in South Central Los Angeles, a heroin addict fingers two drug dealers as the killers, but only one of them is guilty.

~Semanur~

RRPL Gift Guide

If I could be your personal shopper for books I would pick…

The Lying Life of Adults by Elena Ferrante, a fantastic coming-of-age novel by a best-selling author

Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell, a deeply moving and brilliantly imagined historical novel

The Guest List by Lucy Foley, a fast-paced thriller with a wonderful cast of characters

The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune, a magical story, masterfully told.

Hidden Valley Road by Robert Kolker, non-fiction written with clarity and compassion

Hopefully these picks will appeal to a variety of readers in your life, so get busy and shop at Bookshop.org, an online book store that supports local book shops, fill your cart and make the reader in your life happy. Happy Holidays!

What I’m Reading Now- Comics

Hello readers! I haven’t been particularly inspired to write as of late, but after a wee holiday break over Thanksgiving and some relaxation time, I have returned to the keyboard. I’m ready to share some of what I’ve been reading these past few weeks, get you some great bookish gift recommendations (coming at you later this month!) and I’m also very ready to see this year out the door. Bye, 2020. It’s been real.

Today I’m listing some great comics I’ve been enjoying recently. I’m a huge Hoopla fan and per usual, all of the titles shared below are available on Hoopla with your library card!

Basketful of Heads Vol. 1 by Joe Hill

Is this actually a story involving a basketful of heads? Why yes, it is. Talking heads to be exact – not to be confused with the band. It is also the story of June Branch, a young woman who after narrowly escaping an attack with her life, finds herself in possession of a supernaturally powered Viking axe that seemingly allows decapitated heads to continue living after their bodily departure. As she tries to save her kidnapped boyfriend she discovers that all is not as it seems in this small town. It’s all the fun and weirdness I love from Joe Hill with a dash of crime, mystery, and some solid humor sprinkled in.

They Called Us Enemy by George Takei, Justin Eisinger, and Steven Scott

This graphic memoir from actor and activist George Takei is truly amazing. I recently read it for the second time to discuss in RRPL’s teen graphic novel book club, Comix Club, and was once again struck by this moving and eye opening story. Readers learn all about Takei’s traumatic experiences as a young child forced to live in the Japanese-American internment camps with his siblings and parents in the 40s. An important and often glossed over aspect of American history, this personal account of the terrible treatment many American citizens endured is a book that everyone should read.

The Red Mother Vol. 1 by Jeremy Haun

After suffering a mysterious and brutal attack while out with her boyfriend one evening, Daisy is not only left without her boyfriend but she also wakes in the hospital missing an eye. After receiving a prosthetic eye, she begins to have strange visions and see a dark and ominous creature staring at her amongst crowds- that nobody else seems to see except her. This first volume doesn’t reveal much and leaves readers with quite a cliffhanger, so I look forward to what is revealed in the next collected volume.

Dune: The Graphic Novel: Book 1 by Frank Herbert. Adapted by Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson

I enjoy science fiction from time to time, but have yet to read any of the sci-fi classic Dune. It always seemed somewhat intimidating and I must admit some classic science fiction titles tend to strike me as a bit too male-centric for my tastes. This graphic novel adaptation is a great way to dip your toes into the series if you are like me and don’t want to commit to the traditional novels! With the new Dune film slated to be released soon there will surely be a new influx of interest in this series so now is a great time to dive in.

What have you been reading? Any new graphic novels that you have loved? Stay safe and happy reading!